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Failure to pay child support a serious problem

Parents in Georgia going through a divorce may want to give special attention to the issue of child support. A recent article in discussed the plight of a woman with three children from a previous marriage, who is currently married to a man with two children of his own from a previous marriage. The woman's ex-husband is behind on his child support payments, and owes $11,000. The couple is paying between $500 and $600 a month in child support payments to the man's ex-wife, who wants to increase the payments.

The couple is a two-income family, and both have good jobs, but they are struggling to make ends meet financially. The court ordered the ex-husband to pay $500 per month, but he is now unemployed, his location is unknown and police have a warrant out for his arrest. This situation is common, and the article states that national numbers from 2009 put the amount owed in back payments at more than $100 billion.

This is more prevalent with divorced dads owing back payments, but the roles can be reversed. The judge can award custody to the father, with the mother subsequently unable or unwilling to pay child support. Primary factors affecting the court's decision can include whether the custodial parent has a job, and his or her salary and financial resources. The intangibles can include the maturity level of the non-custodial parent, specifically whether or not they choose to help with the costs of raising their children if they have a steady income.

Job loss can be taken into consideration, but some parents have been known to quit their job to avoid having to pay child support. A flat-out refusal to pay can result in garnished wages, seizure of the non-custodial parent's tax refund and even jail time. Parents with marital issues can meet with a divorce lawyer to learn their legal rights and responsibilities.

Source: US News and World Report, "What to Do When Your Ex Won't (or Can't) Pay Child Support", Geoff Williams, November 20, 2013

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